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Treadway Tire Company - Case Study Example

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Summary
The overarching problem facing Treadway tires is the serious morale issues of staff at the line foreman level and that this dissatisfaction was beginning to spread to the other employee segments across the entire Lima plant (Skinner and Beckham 2). The intention of Ashley Wall…
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Treadway Tire Company
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What is the overarching problem facing Treadway tires (the focus of the case)? The overarching problem facing Treadway tires is the serious morale issues of staff at the line foreman level and that this dissatisfaction was beginning to spread to the other employee segments across the entire Lima plant (Skinner and Beckham 2). The intention of Ashley Wall is therefore to curb this growing dissatisfaction before it spreads to other employee-levels and gets out of hand. The line-foreman segment faced intense pressure from the general supervisor and area managers above them as well as from the hourly line-production employees below them. This high level of dissatisfaction by the line-foreman segment was being manifested through an increased trend of employee turnover. In 2007 alone 23 line-foremen left the Lima plant both voluntarily and involuntarily. This high turnover has negatively implications on the plant’s productivity and cost. It prevents the Lima tire plant from realizing its potential of being Treadway’s lowest cost producer and number one plant for productivity in North America.
2) What are the elements of the work system that contribute to the problem at Treadway?
Four elements of the work system that contribute towards the problems at Treadway are: (1) inadequate training and development for new hires; (2) poor communication from upper management; (3) a poor organizational and/or power structure; and (4) a performance review system.
From the case it is clear that for one to effectively perform the duty of a line foremac one needed skills in areas such as understanding union contracts, employee and production scheduling, pay and so on. However, at Treadway’s Lima plant new line foremen received only informal training, which was conducted at the discretion of the general supervisor and area manager (Skinner and Beckham 5). This situation is aggravated by the poor or limited communication between upper management and line-foremen segment. In such a scenario it would not be far-fetched to expect the quality of this informal training to be inadequate.
The line foremen were expected to take charge of the hourly employees and were held responsible over the hourly-employees’ actions yet they lacked the authority needed to do so. This reflects a poor power structure – which reflects poor organizational structure. In a good organizational structure the person who bears responsibility has to be given the authority to perform whatever needs to be done with regards to that responsibility. This in a way made line-foremen to be undermined by their charges. Lastly, we are informed that in order to get a good review, line foremen were expected to meet targets without aggravating either the union or management (Skinner and Beckham 6). The latter implies adopting a less open approach with both the unionized employees and management.
Works Cited
Skinner, Wickham, and Heather Beckham. “The Treadway Tire Company: Job Dissatisfaction and High Turnover at the Lima Tire Plant.” 12 June 2008 : n. pag. Print.
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